About a month ago the music world received some sad news, Alexisonfire was no longer.
While losing an iconic Canadian band, it shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise. With the success of singer/guitar player Dallas Green’s acoustic side project growing at an insane rate, there was no way he could keep up with both bands and still have any sanity left. He announced his departure to the band in 2010. The intent was to continue on without him, which would have been a huge blow to the band given Green’s unique vocals that add to the signature AOF sound. It was shortly afterwards that other guitar/vocalist Wade McNeil signed on to become the new lead singer for Gallows on top of his other side project The Black Lungs. With two key members gone, trekking forward was impossible and the band parted ways.
For me Alexisonfire was one of those key bands there for me in my teenage years and have brought on a decade full of good memories through their music, from celebrating my 18th birthday at one of their concerts at the college bar, to sitting up all night listening to ‘Drunks, Lovers, Sinners and Saint’s’ on repeat in my friends car after “Crisis” was released. I own every album, including some vinyl, own far too many shirts, and lived in my AOF jacket until it was warn out so much it was unrecognizable.
I know I’m not the only one who felt so strongly for their music. My friend Jeff will also miss the band and I feel like his words tell the perfect love story (yay for first guest post!):
My journey with Alexisonfire began at the tender age of 15 and the first memory I have of them was watching the music video for the song “Counterparts and Number Them” on Much Music. I vaguely remember asking myself, why do they all have such odd facial hair? Something else hit me during that brief encounter, something that shaped my taste in music ever since. I felt the rawness and the massive amount of what can only be described as shred that they portrayed. However, I still wasn’t convinced. It wasn’t until I received a copy of their second CD, “Watch Out!” that I gave them a second chance.
My first mosh pit (the Trauma Tour), instead of migrating with the crowd to watch some extreme sport, I stood by the railing watching them set up. I yelled “Dallas, have my children”, and he waved at me, one of my proudest moments. His voice has the ability to end wars. It feels like he is so out of place next to the heavy riffs, yet there is no other place I would want him to be.
I think the biggest reason I am going to miss them as a band is we had so many good times together. Late night cruise sessions, drowning out boring teachers in high school, ending off a long night drinking, and the list goes on. Crisis and Watch Out! are still my go to CDs when I can’t decide what to listen to, like your favorite blanket, familiar and comforting.
There is a special way that Alexisonfire came together, that made them like no other. The bittersweet screams of George, the soft relief of Dallas’ vocals, the gruff tone of Wades back up. It was like a sweet, salty, sour mix of epic tales, heart break, and just dealing with life’s mysteries. And the best part? That’s only the vocals. The way that they were so individually talented was both their genius and weakness.
They announced that they were thinking of reuniting 10 years from now, to do a couple shows as a reunion tour, but in the end, the damage has been done. And yes, I’ve already set my alarm. In the end, they have grown to be one of the most recognizable Canadian bands and helped pave the way for many scream/alt rock/hardcore/ etc. bands.
Couldn’t have said it better myself. Thanks Jeff!
RIP AOF – thank you for shaping the Canadian music scene and leaving a legacy. Your music will always live on.